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Vietnam plans $1 bln fund for Covid vaccination program

By Viet Tuan   May 19, 2021 | 08:58 pm PT
Vietnam plans $1 bln fund for Covid vaccination program
A medical worker gets a shot of AstraZeneca vaccine in Dong Ha Town of central Quang Tri Province, May 13, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tao.
The Ministry of Finance plans to create a Covid-19 vaccine fund that will solicit contributions from various sources to ease the burden on the government's resources.

Vietnam aims to secure 150 million doses of vaccines to immunize 75 percent of its population this year, and the ministry estimates the program will cost around VND25.2 trillion ($1 billion), VND21 trillion for the vaccines and the rest for their transportation, storage and distribution and organizing vaccination.

A resolution the government issued in February said it would be funded by public resources, aid and payments by organizations and individuals for vaccination under commercial schemes.

Now the ministry estimates the government will provide VND16 trillion while cities and provinces and contributions from private sources will make up the remaining amount.

But if the pandemic continues and the demand for vaccines grows, it would be hard to rely heavily on public funding, the ministry warned.

Thus, establishing the fund is the best way to meet the urgent need for vaccination, it said.

The Ministry of Health said it has signed agreements to procure 110 million doses in 2021.

They include 31 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which will arrive in the third and fourth quarters, 38.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine provided through global mechanism Covax, backed by the World Health Organization, for distribution of vaccines to low- and middle-income countries, 30 million doses from AstraZeneca through a deal signed by the Vietnam Vaccine JSC, and 10 million additional doses through Covax under a cost-sharing scheme to benefit from lower prices.

Around 2.5 million of the 38.9 million doses under Covax have reached Vietnam.

The country began an immunization program on March 8 using the AstraZeneca vaccine procured either through commercial contracts or Covax, and more than one million of its 96 million people have got the first shot.

It has also been developing its own vaccines, with four currently being in development by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biological, Vaccine and Biological Production Company No. 1, and the Center for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (Polyvac).

Nanocovax by Nanogen began its second phase of human trials last month, and Covivac by the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals began its first phase earlier this month.

 
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